Lower Secondary School Development Program

“LSSDP is an important program because it helps strengthen each community’s capacity to help students and increases the resources available. I feel proud to work for the LSSDP and inspired to help the younger generation of children in Cambodia who want to learn and continue their education like I was able to do.”Oeur Saloeurn, LSSDP Project Officer

In Cambodia, only 40% of Cambodian children make it to Grade 9. Of the students who do enrol in lower secondary school (grades 7-9), 22% drop out before graduating. This is not because education is not valued. In fact, through our community consultations we know that residents care deeply about educational opportunities for their children. The main drivers for these enrolment and dropout rates are economic:

  • In rural communities, schools may be too far away for children to walk. The lack of a bicycle can mean the difference between going to school or not.
  • Poverty also impacts enrollment and dropout rates. As children grow up, their ability to contribute to family income increases.

The short-term pressures of poverty make it difficult for many families to commit to the longer-term goals of education.

The Lower Secondary School Development Program (LSSDP) is a 3-year, proven model for school development. It empowers communities to take ownership of their state school to drive improvements at the local level. We work with the School Support Committee (SSC), a government mandated group similar to a PTA and the Student Council (SC), also mandated.

The LSSDP program trains these stakeholders to become advocates for improving their schools based on their priorities. At the end of our 3 year involvement the community is able to carry on the work independently.

The below illustrates the annual program cycle for LSSDP

Because community members set the priorities, SSCs are able to gain support from residents and other resources. Examples of school improvement projects include: 

  • Toilet block construction
  • Classroom and library enhancements
  • Student outreach/enrolment programs 
  • Bicycles and solar lamps for the most needy
  • Fences and gates
  • Dormitory housing for teachers 
To learn more about the Lower Secondary School Development Program, download our report: Lower Secondary School Development Program Pilot Phase Evaluation (2013).  The report describes the success of LSSDP in empowering communities to support their local public lower secondary school (grades 7 to 9), by engaging whole communities in school development at the grassroots level.